Originally posted by A boy in a dress
reply to post by nenothtu
Hi Neno... I'm going to encapsulate some pagan stories from Europe and some
from your 'neck of the woods' and it may need some panel-beating!!!
So don't be offended if I use Native American and some stuff from over here on this
side of the pond.
I'm loving this!!
Nope, not offended in the slightest - that's pretty much how I was raised - Irish tales and Indian tales conflated together, because of the neck of
the woods I was raised in. Settled mostly by Scot-Irish, taken over from the original owners, and all mashed together. My own ancestry involved
O'Briens and McElwaynes (written on their tombstones as "Muckelwaine" - hence my surprise at "Mucklebones") Who were traders among the Lenape and
Shawnees, and intermarried, and Meadows folks who intermarried with Cherokees a bit farther south - that's how a mongrel like me comes about.
Some of the stories are familiar to me, and some from across the pond were imported with their owners and became a part of the local lore. The Banshee
or Bhean Side was one of them, in one form or another, as is the Black Dog (who my grandpa claimed to have encountered one night at a bridge - he WAS
a mean old fart, but it may have been the whiskey just as easily...
). My grandma has claimed to have seen the Banshee more than once, usually
as a ball of fire and always accompanied by a death.
I personally have seen strange things up in them woods. Once a "bigfoot" to coin a phrase, and one night I was walking the ridges and saw two
glowing red eyes about 30 yards away, under the ridge on slightly lower ground, that looked to be about 8 or 10 inches in diameter each, and 3 feet or
so apart. Never did figure out what it really was. I thought it might have been some sort of foxfire, but never saw it again on subsequent nights, so
I really don't know what it could have been. Just a couple of red glows. I had no flashlight (never carried one - they ruined my night sight), so I
never lit it up. Might be just as glad that I didn't
On the subject of "Green Man", "Rootak" or "Bigfoot", moist of my ancestry is Algonquian, Shawnee and Lenape, and the terms you used sounded
more Iroquoian - I have no idea if they were Iroquois or not, since I don't speak it - was called "Msissingw" among my people. I never really broke
down the word to it's parts, but "msi" (silent m, s pronounced as an "sh") means "big". He was alleged to be a "game keeper", looking out for
the forest people and preventing overhunting and the like. The Lenape used to have an impersonator for Msisssingw who dressed in a bear skin and
carried a turtle shell rattle. Used to scare the bejesus out of the kids with him and "helped" them behave.
The Shawnees were wanderers and fighters. Roamed all over the eastern US from Florida to Ohio and Pennsylvania, came originally from the Great lakes
Algonquians. Closely related to the Sauk, Fox, and Chippewa or Ojibwa (Shawnee name for them was "Hocipwe", so it could go either way, "c" is
pronounced as "ch"). Lots of tribes invited them to settle their borders as extra security in the buffer zones to prevent attack from hostile
tribes. They had to get through the Shawnee first, which wasn't usually very easy. They were the last tribe in the east to counter white expansion
there, which says something of their character. Anyhow, I mention that to explain how they came to "import" beliefs from several tribes. Msissingw
from the Lenape Grandfathers, Giant Snakes from the Cherokee, stuff like that. "Uktena" is a Cherokee word for a Giant Snake. Cherokee legend says
it was finally killed by a Shawnee warrior they had captured, to earn his "frreedom", who then became a Medicine man among them and settled there to
be the Keeper of the heart of the Uktena he had killed. Long story, had to feed it blood periodically and treat it with respect.
Even now, Cherokees point out to a specific cliff on a river in western North Carolina, bordering East Tennessee, where they say the Uktena lived in a
deep hole in a bend in the river. It's not too far from Fontana Dam. At the top of the cliff below a cave there are white streaks that the Cherokee
claim are droppings from a Thunder Bird who lived in that cliff cave and was constantly at war with the Uketna who lived in the river below.
Shawnees recognized 4 Thunder Birds ( "The Truth Bringers" or "Truth Bearers"), one for each of the winds, and two different kinds of Giant Snakes
- a "Giant Horned Snake" type and a "Giant Horse Headed Snake type. All lived in or near water, and one of the Giant Horse Headed Snakes was said
to live in Lake Erie, where I understand "something" akin to the Loch Ness Monster" is seen sporadically to this very day. Another cognate between
the natives and the European legends.
My dad swore, to the day he died, that in the summer of 1941, when he was 12, he saw several different times through the course of the summer the
track of a Giant Snake in the dust of the logging roads in West Virginia where he grew up. He said it looked like someone had dragged a 12" or 14"
stove pipe in a meandering course through the dust, and that from the tracks it was some sort of poisonous Giant Snake, a giant viper of some kind. I
chalked it up to an over active imagination, but as I got older I found representations of a Giant Snake, sometimes in combat with a Thunder Bird in
Hopewell and Adena carvings. The Snake shown was a Giant Rattle snake, with horns. Makes you wonder.
Around the turn of the century, late 1990's or early 2000's, I myself saw a giant bird twice in one summer in Rockingham County, NC. I lived alone
in a trailer out in the middle of nowhere in the woods at the time, and saw it twice. I saw it once between the tops of some pine trees. Measured the
distance to the base and triangulated, and came up with a measurement for the bird of 12' from wing tip to wing tip. It was solid black, or really
dark brown, and had a heavy black beak similar to what one would expect of an eagle. I asked around, and the consensus was that it must have been a
Golden Eagle, but they don't live around here, either, although we have a few Bald Eagles, and either sort max out at about 7' across the wings,
just over half the size of the bird I saw.
There's "things" out there with some basis in reality, whatever it might be, and fairly frequently the legends of the Old Country and the New
sometimes tend to overlap. Maybe I just notice it more than most because of my upbringings, but the correlations are there nonetheless, and I don't
mind a mix and match a bit!
As an aside, in odd animal wanderings of late, I've seen an otter and an osprey in and around a pond of about an acre at work, neither of which
should be there, as well as a Blue Heron, which is possible but rare in these parts. In Greensboro, NC, on the north side, right now they are looking
for a bear which has been sighted in the city, which should not be there. Fish and Game says they don't exist here, but several witnesses say they
DO. That's the second bear sighted in Greensboro since I moved to this area. Rockingham County is just to the north of Greensboro, and I've seen
bear tracks where I lived on Jacob's Creek there, but again Fish and Game said I was nuts, since no bears live there. Oddly, they told me I wasn't
allowed to kill it if I saw it (which I wouldn't have anyhow - but they didn't know that), to which I replied "how can I get in trouble for
killing what doesn't exist?"